#bethegirl interview with Simona Valev & Shannon Lacey, co-founders of RAWKANVAS

#bethegirl interview with Simona Valev & Shannon Lacey, co-founders of RAWKANVAS


Skincare that empowers your confidence, naturally is at the heart of RAWKANVAS, one of Australia's leading all natural, vegan and cruelty free skincare ranges. Created by best friends Simona and Shannon who bonded over a mutual love of health, wellness, creativity and travel, they have built RAWKANVAS around their shared goals: to create high quality, natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare and beauty worthy of a #shelfie, to be creative and have fun. I spoke with the lovely ladies themselves, to find out more about the range, how they work together in their business and their sneaky hidden talent!

Hi Shannon and Simona, welcome to TDP's #bethegirl interview series! I am so excited to find out all about your beautiful skin care range, holistic approach and brand philosophy and how you balance each other out working in your business...

Tell us about RAWKANVAS and how it all began for your brand? RAWKANVAS Australia is a boutique collection of award-winning skincare that empowers your confidence, naturally. The unique blends deliver high-quality natural, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, all brought to life with aromatic scents and beautiful colours. The result? Liberated, make-up free skin. Your confidence, naturally.

It all began for Simona and I in our mid-twenties when we first met. We became friends and got to chatting about all things beauty and health and realised that we had very common passions and goals when it came to skincare specifically. Broadly speaking, we were both very focused on beauty, health, nature and travel in general. At that time, there was no 'voice' in the skincare industry advocating for the connection between beauty, health and nature. So in all honesty, we just set to work!

We wanted to provide high-quality, effective, aromatic and colourful skincare. We wanted to represent beauty, health and nature and encourage this connected lifestyle. Everything works in proper balance - good skincare, taking care of your health, and utilising nature as an abundant source. So we researched, we aligned ourselves with professionals to bring our formulation concepts to life, we tested and retested, and here we are!

What does your beautiful product range include? Our skincare collection includes all of your daily basics, plus a collection that is uniquely formulated to target and address skin concerns. When we say 'uniquely', we're referring to the thought process behind the formulations, plus the inclusion of co-beneficial ingredients to go above and beyond what could have otherwise been a quite standard formulation.

So for example when we were formulating The Foundation, we wanted to address skin concerns based around ageing and sun damage. The quick solution is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. However vitamin C is also a strong solution to the appearance of ageing due to it's ability to increase collagen production and increase brightness in the skin. So, why not formulate one powerful product charged with both? It was common to see retinol or vitamin C as exclusive products on the market, not combined products.

When we were formulating The Limelight, we wanted to deliver an effective skincare solution for common skin concerns such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Probiotics were slowly emerging at that time, however it was difficult to find genuinely 'live' microencapsulated probiotics on the market. We went to really great lengths with our supplier to locate a tried and tested source of live microencapsulated probiotics to deliver the best possible dosage at the time of skincare application. If the probiotic is live, it works!

When we formulated Healer, which is a hand cream, we wanted to address 'why' people use hand cream. What would be beneficial to people above and beyond the basic need of nourishment? Well the answer was healthy hands! Similar to The Limelight, we added microencapsulated probiotics into the formulation for this product so that you can not only enjoy nourished hands, but also cleaner and healthier hands!

We have stories like this for most of our range why is why you then see the inclusion of Hemp Seed Oil, Malachite and Seaweed collagen, for example, in our ever growing list! We will always be innovating and listening to our community.

What are your top tips for skincare during the winter months here in Australia? In one word - nourishment! Winter conditions can be really harsh on your skin and can dry it out immensely. To keep it simple - avoid cleansers that strip your face of moisture (a simple way to know this is if your face feels stiff after washing it), apply a toner that provides moisture and ALSO retains or locks moisture in to the skin, apply a really nourishing overnight cream and finish this off with a facial oil to, again, lock in that much needed moisture to the skin. Also, pop on a good lip balm to protect your sensitive lips against wind chill and chapping! In the RAWKANVAS collection that routine would simply be: Purified, Harmony, Luna Vitality, Yesteryouth and Luscious.

"We wanted to provide high-quality, effective, aromatic and colourful skincare. We wanted to represent beauty, health and nature and encourage this connected lifestyle."

Your range is natural, vegan, cruelty-free and small batch hand made. Why are these such important facets of your business? Natural - Natural, plant-based skincare is effective, safe to use, and safe to wash down the drain into our ecosystems. What we put onto our body is so important for own own safety and as a society we're all becoming more and more aware of the harmful effects of synthetic chemicals that are used in everyday life. If they're not necessary to use, why use them?! Nature is an abundant source of goodness and we love celebrating that!

Vegan & Cruelty-Free - Natural, plant-based skincare is also good for our animals. We refrain from using any animal derivatives in our high-quality skincare products. As a cruelty-free brand committed to creating products that are free from animal testing, we are dedicated to cruelty-free practices. We love animals! And we know that you do too! This gives you a clear conscience knowing that your choices as a consumer are contributing towards a kinder, safer world. And, in this day and age there's no need to test products on animals. We have plenty of technology to make sure that products are safe to use on real people - why subject our animals to these practices?

Small-Batch - Simply, we're all about fresh products! We manufacture a batch of skincare monthly so that you receive skincare that's genuinely fresh and most effective. This avoids unwarranted large batches being produced that would sit in warehouse shelves for extended periods of time - who wants that?! RAWKANVAS has a recycling program, what an amazing initiative (love this so much!). How does it work and what are the rewards (apart from a whole lot of good karma!)? We love that we're partnered with the correct suppliers that allow us to bring this initiative to life, not to mention our great community who enjoy contributing to a greater planet! It's super simple and only takes 2 steps for our customers!

Step 1: Keep your RAWKANVAS shipping package (or utilise another package from home) and fill it with any empty bottles, jars, pumps and product boxes from your RAWKANVAS products. Important - rinse out your containers to make sure that they are clean and free of any residual product before returning!

Step 2: Write your name, mobile number and email address on a piece of paper and place this in the shipping box along with the items to be recycled. Tape your box up, head to the post office and send it back to us!

Once we receive your parcel we will email you with a $10AUD credit to put towards your next RAWKANVAS purchase. We ensure that the packaging received is up-cycled by sending the components to a supplier who thoroughly and safely cleans the items with heat and alcohol so that they can be hygienically re-used in the future. Bottom line is, the more this occurs, the less we have to have unnecessarily manufactured. Less manufacturing equals a greater planet!

"Our brand philosophy is to empower people to understand that skincare is multi-faceted. It's holistic, everything works in proper balance - good skincare routines, good health routines and using nature as an abundant source."

RAWKANVAS by definition, is the natural (raw) care of one’s skin, resulting in your best complexion (kanvas). Tell us more about your brand philosophy and holistic approach to skincare and wellness? Our brand philosophy is to empower people to understand that skincare is multi-faceted. It's holistic. By that we mean that everything works in proper balance - good skincare routines, good health routines, and using nature as an abundant source. At a base level, RAWKANVAS provides you the tools to take care of your skin using high-quality natural ingredients, resulting in your best 'kanvas'. As a brand we then continuously advocate the connection between beauty, health and nature. Take care of your skin, take care of your health, connect with nature and you will reap the rewards!

What are your individual roles in the business? Simona and I are both equal partners in RAWKANVAS. We're both Co-Founders and Directors. To keep the business as seamless as possible in our busy days, a typical day would see Simona focused largely on the operations of the business which includes everything from working on our product development with our suppliers, working on the product logistics with our suppliers and fulfilling daily orders. I'm focused largely on business planning, structure and marketing. There is always overlap of course, and at the end of the day we're a team!

What is your favourite thing about your bestie and business partner? Simona and I are like yin and yang in so many ways! Which is great as we really do balance each other out as a team.

Simona: 'Shannon is really good at calming me down. When I have an idea, I'm always so keen to get it going and get it done. Shannon makes me stop and think before I get too far ahead of myself.'

Shannon: 'Simona is a 'do-er'. She gets an idea an executes. She works on RAWKANVAS in her sleep. Whereas I know that I am much more of a planner, I tread with caution and will sit on ideas until I am certain of it! So with Simona being a 'do-er' she forces me out of my comfort zone which is good for growth!' Rawkanvas What is something most people would not know or a hidden talent or skill your business partner has? Simona: 'Shannon can put up with A LOT of things going wrong and just goes with the flow.' Shannon: 'She's just all round superwoman. She wears many hats and gets.it.done!' Can you let us in on one personal and one business goal you have for the rest of 2019? Simona: 'Personal goal-wise, I would love to get out and about more and get back to travelling. Since we started RAWKANVAS I've spent so much time growing the business that I have to say, sometimes I forget about myself. I want to get back in to nature and get inspiration by travelling the world and seeing new places and cultures.

Business-wise, it's been an epic journey since 2017 when we came up with the idea. We've learned so much and along the way, developed and made things even better. We've had so much amazing feedback and feedback that has also allowed us to improve our products, without our amazing customers we honestly wouldn't be where we are. I have a massive passion for finding unique ingredients and creating out of the box products, so I would love to add some new products to our growing collection.'

Shannon: 'Personally, I am working on personal growth in the beauty and health industry. I'm extremely interested in well-being and exercise and I intend to study along these lines. I'm a people person and at the end of the day I like to help people. What better way than to help people with their well-being?

In terms of business, RAWKANVAS is growing really well and we have a really lovely and supportive community of customers. I'd like to set a product turnover goal so that at the end of the day, we know that RAWKANVAS is in many hands and on many faces and people are feeling confident in their skin! We get the nicest reviews and not to sound cliche, but it really is heartwarming and that's what makes this so great - we're making a difference one kanvas at a time!'

Thank you so much Shannon and Simona for sharing an insight into your business and your beautiful skin care range. I absolute love your brand philosophy empowering and educating people to understand that skincare is multifaceted and holistic.

To browse the RAWKANVAS range, head to the website and follow on Instagram for all the latest updates and skin care news and products.

Hayley x
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